A couple nights ago my family and I walked down to a small beach not far from my house where our town was hosting a S’more Feast for kids. As the sun was setting and my daughters belly full of chocolate goodness we made our way back home along the old T-rail path along the edge of the pond. I could hear a Savannah Sparrow singing his heart out and I narrowed in on his location which was the top of a small Spruce Tree. My mind began to race since I knew this could possibly be a great opportunity to capture some early morning light on this fellow.
Here is a Cell Phone image of the pond taken the following morning after my session. If you look closely at the Spruce Tree in the bottom right of the image you can see the Sparrow still sitting on his perch.
So naturally I returned the following morning with camera in hand and set myself up in front of the perch with the sun rising behind me..but boy was I in for a nice surprise. The Savannah took center stag on his perch as the sun began to crest the horizon. I began moving ever so slightly… up, down, left to right trying to line up a nice background for my shot when I noticed this circular formation appearing in my frame. Something was reflecting in the water behind my subject and forming what looked like a sun (which I still have no idea what was causing it). I scrambled to line this object up perfectly and the resulting image was this
I realized after reviewing the image at home that my shadow actually blocked a portion of the perch from getting hit by light but it left a little window of light on the bird which made the image even more special.
I continued photographing the sparrow that morning until the light got too harsh (which didnt take long since there were no clouds in the sky) and even returned the following morning as both days provided beautiful early morning light with no wind. Here are a few more images from those sessions that I really liked.
This first image I shot with the sun just barely out of frame as it perched on top of this weed/wildflower stock (I have no clue what its called but if anyone knows please leave a comment below)
For this next shot the Sparrow moved to the edge of the Spruce perch it seems to love so I composed that circular reflection to mimic the sun again.
before the light got to intense I positioned myself on the other side of his perch and captured this back lit image.
and finally here is tighter shot of the sparrow on the same weed from the second shot you saw above and if you look closely you can see its breath which was a nice bonus.
All in all it was an amazing two mornings with the Sparrow and it makes me only wish I had opportunities like this with more of my subjects. It was a great learning experience to play around with different light angles and I feel very fortunate that this guy was so comfortable with my presence. As I have mentioned in past posts I do use callback (obviously in a very minimal and respectful manner) with many of my song bird images but for this guy none was needed. It was all about studying its behavior and learning which perches he liked to call from. It also helped that there was another Savannah Sparrow near by that kept this guy Singing all morning.